How to Look After Your Fridge & Its Contents

What’s the right temperature setting for the fridge? How long can you keep things before they really ought to be binned? Which items need to be kept in the fridge and which don’t? All good questions. Well The Good Housekeeping Institute has released some advice to answer the most common questions around fridges and shelf life, there’s even a useful infographic that states the length of time every grocery stays fresh for, from milk to fish – and many of them are surprisingly short.

Firstly, always store perishable items in the fridge to keep them fresh and safe to eat, and keep the fridge temperature at 1-4°C. For optimum food quality and freshness, always keep dairy products, eggs, raw and cooked meat and fish, plus fresh salads and most vegetables in the fridge, as well as any opened condiments, such as jams, sauces and mayonnaise.

For safe and efficient food storage follow these tips:

1. Wrap all items carefully. Make sure raw meat and poultry cannot leak on to other foods by storing these on the bottom shelf. Store cooked foods on the shelves above.

2. Only put food that is room temperature or cooler in the fridge – putting hot food in the fridge will raise the temperature inside the fridge.

3. Don’t keep the fridge door open for longer than necessary and don’t overfill the fridge, as this will prevent air circulating, which will affect the internal temperature.

4. Temperatures vary in different parts of the fridge: store open condiments, such as mayonnaise, sauces and dressings, on the upper shelves; dairy products on the lower/middle shelves; raw meat and fish on the bottom shelf; and preserves such as jams, chutneys and pickles in the fridge door shelves, where temperatures are most susceptible to fluctuation. Store delicate salads and herbs away from the back of the fridge, which is very cold – these are best stored in the salad drawers.

5. Keep certain fruits and vegetables out of the fridge: avocados, bananas, potatoes, onions and garlic naturally release ethylene gas, which can cause other fruit and veg to ripen/spoil more quickly. Potatoes should also not be stored in the fridge as they can change in flavour and texture, due to changes in sugar content. Bread is more likely to go stale if stored in the fridge, so wrap it and store in a cool, dry place instead.

6. Clean the fridge regularly using a proprietary cleaner or a solution of 1tbsp bicarbonate of soda to 1litre (1¾ pints) water.

How long to store it in the fridge